A Special Day of Love with the Kiddos| Quick DIY Activities for Valentine’s Day | By Lauren Cop

Valentine’s Day is all about the celebration of love. Temper tantrums, mealtime and bedtime battles, sibling rivalry, social life, errands, work, bills – it all contributes to a chaotic life. It is easy to let our appreciation of our children and the importance of expressing love and appreciation go to the wayside. Love is a powerful emotion that can solve many problems. With love, we can include, appreciate, and solve problems in a peaceful manner. I talk about love with my children all the time – the more it is talked about, the more my children can be made aware of the powerful effects of love. This Valentine’s Day, I plan to start my first celebration of love with my children. Listed below are just a few fun projects you can do with your children in helping your children to celebrate love.

Love your body – You get one body. Period. It is important that you teach your children how to appreciate their bodies from the get-go to prevent unnecessary health issues later in life. Discuss nutrition, fitness, mental health and especially how to appreciate their unique features. The Valentine Heart Hop was so fun to play with my little one. Through this game they are working on fitness and education so they are, in a sense, loving their bodies. This game is soo easy to put together and you probably already have all the materials in your home! You can work on numbers, counting, and of course hopping! Give it a try and see what fun you can create with your little one.

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{ Valentine Heart Hop, Photo by Lauren Cop }

Love is messy – both figuratively and literally – it can be gritty, dirty, dangerous, and even obsessive. Love is also not tangible. What better way to express something that isn’t tangible than playing with slime! Discuss with your kids how often times, big concepts cannot be confined to one form or put in a box. Love can be muddled, change shape, and grow during your relationships with people. This is another of those easy recipes that has many materials that you may already have in your house! Have the kids help in making this slime and really get down and dirty in the discussion of love.

**Note: When using this recipe, make sure you are using borax-based liquid starch. Anything else will not work – I learned this the hard way and totally devastated my children.

Love as an expression – As a parent, I try to express to my children how much I love them every day. Not only by saying the words but recognizing good behavior and telling them the things that make me happy and proud to be their mother. It has gotten so prevalent that my oldest Viv often asks me “You happy Mama?” What better way of getting your children to show their love for others than by making cards. I took the typical ‘Love you to pieces’ card and added this easy step. I asked my kids what they love about each person and wrote it down. We talked about how each person is special and how they help our family as well. It doesn’t matter how silly what they say may seem to you – it means something to your child and the people who will receive your card. Expressing love isn’t easy so help your child learn to express their emotions early with this easy activity. You will not regret their answers J

**Note: Instead of contact paper, I used tissue paper and glue.

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{ Love You To Pieces, Photo by Lauren Cop }

Love through foodFood is a love language all to its own. It is necessary for survival and so easy to show your appreciation of others by creating yummy food for them. This is kind of two-fold. You can have your child create food for loved ones and share them. Or, you can create sweet little Valentine’s inspired lunches for your children. An easy way to do this is just to cut everything into heart shapes! If you click here you can also find a lot of other Valentine’s Day lunch inspirations. Also don’t forget the note! My Mom would randomly leave notes in our lunches and Valentine’s Day was one of those. Even if it just says I love you – it will make your child feel so appreciated and loved.

Love is time – I don’t think I could ever spend enough time with the people I love. Many people are far away, work, get sick, are busy, etc… So it is not necessarily about how much time, but more of what do you do with that time. Have your children been especially difficult lately – which makes you yell, get frustrated, and in a constant role of disciplinarian? Maybe take a break, regroup, and devote some real quality time with your kids. Take them on an outing, eat an indoor picnic, have them choose what’s for dinner, play a game – engage your children! Ignore the bad behavior and try to praise the good behavior. Even if only one day this month is free, take that time for your kids. This is what will mean the most to your children – the time you spend with them. It is what they remember – do you want them to remember the disciplinarian or the silly Mama who isn’t afraid to wear a bowl as a hat!

Other Fun Love Language Links – If none of the above strike your fancy, check out these other fantastic links!

So as cliché as Valentine’s Day may seem, make it a day of investigating love with your children. Bring up the big topics and importance of love. Love is a convoluted, complex concept that we all need in our lives. Help your children grasp those concepts and in-turn show them a new side of your love for them! Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be another Hallmark holiday – make it fun and special for your children so they one day understand this intricate concept. I mean, can’t we all agree that there needs to be more love in this world?

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